* * *
John woke up on a gurney. He could smell the sterile environment, and he knew it would take a moment or two to regain control. He sighed. That’s part of the process, the thought wasn’t new. He could hear movement around him, and he knew from countless times before: Eyes closed is always better. When he felt his control return, he turned and saw his body lying on the gurney next to him. Everything was going according to plan. The sights, sounds and feelings were coming into focus. He knew he would be ready to perform his next task within minutes.
John sat up, and Chris came up to his gurney.
“Sir,” he whispered, “shall I get the limo ready?”
John opened his eyes and made a shooing motion with his hands. “Let’s get this thing done.” As he made his way to the limo, he stopped and stared at his still body lying on the gurney. His focus shifted up to a glass observation window above. He could see the brilliant inventor of the swapping technology studying readouts and computer screens. He had never seen Dr. Terrance Mann sleep, but assumed Mann found the time. As long as Dr. Mann was available for the switch, it really didn’t matter to John when the doctor slept. For the amount of cash he’s being paid, John thought as his lips morphed into a smile, Mann can sleep after the election.
* * *
The limo drove to a television station with a pundit that openly disliked the President. John knew he would enjoy the interview. Getting through the studio was much easier without the Secret Service tagging along.
Secret Service, he thought. They were all fools. Had he not chosen his own staff, his plan would’ve never worked. For this interview he was the president’s opposition, determined to make sure President John Michael’s cronies didn’t stay in office. The charade would’ve been ineffectual with Secret Service fools lurking about. Donning the microphone and earpiece was different; there seemed to be a slight absence of care than when he was the president.
“Mister Hudson,” the host intoned, “you heard the President’s interview today, would you care to comment or respond?”
“Thank you, I would. The President thinks pleasant words and rhetoric will win this election for his party, but I am here today to tell the American people that we cannot continue with business as usual. Drastic changes need to happen to get this country moving forward again. His administration of corrupt crooks cannot be allowed to continue for four more years.”
“Now hold on there a minute, Mister Hudson.” The host’s voice rose to an effeminate falsetto. “There has been no confirmation of any wrong-doing in the Michaels’ administration.”
“Exactly my point! A so-called impartial committee has conducted the investigation, but we all know this committee has been assembled by the current administration. President Michaels had ten years to get his ducks in a row. Now that his reign is drawing to an end, he’s desperately trying to maintain partisan power.”
“Your straight talk has gotten you this far,” the host motioned over his shoulder to an infographic, “but can your constant defamation of the current administration win you favor for those voters who’re on the fence? Those who may agree with your thinking, but not your grandstanding?”
“Grandstanding?” The left corner of his mouth twitched in a lopsided grin. “Look, I’m happy to work with members of his administration based on their voting records. If they’re willing to do what’s right for the American people, I’ll consider their continued presence. This country’s shown, on numerous occasions, when politicians don’t do our jobs, we get the boot. I expect many of President Michaels’ cronies will be unable to adapt to a just administration and they will be replaced.”
“Well then, there really isn’t much more to say here. I wish you luck with the upcoming election.”
“Thank you for having me here today.”
“When we return from break, we’ll talk to our political correspondent for her interpretation on President Michaels’ statement earlier today.”
When the producer indicated the ‘all clear,’ John made his way out of the studio, but the host interrupted him by extending his palm, fingers up.
“James,” he lowered his voice after glancing at the crew, “I can’t endorse you on the air, but I want you to know I want you to win in the worst possible way.”
John stopped his egress leaned in to the host. “God willing, the people of this country will wake up and do the right thing.”
“Absolutely, good luck next month.” A stiff wave followed as the host returned to his perch awaiting the signal to return to air.
John smiled. It had been a hectic month, and with only one more to, he was going to be the busiest man in the world. As long as he could maintain the facade, no one would know his plans. He climbed into his limo and prepared for the last task of the day.
* * *
The entire procedure repeated again, but he had to be transferred back to his own body before the new one. Swapping subsequent bodies ate up a lot of his time, but it was a necessary evil. He thought wryly about using words like evil to describe what he was doing, but it was for the betterment of his country. He drifted off again as his third transfer of the day commenced.
Next: Stolen Seat